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White Helmets Evacuated into Jordan by Israel; One Dead in L.A. Hostage Standoff; Trump Blasts Russia Probe from Golf Course; FBI Releases Redacted Warrant for Carter Page; Duck Boat Tragedy; Criticism over Putin's Invitation to Washington; Moscow Touts Success of Helsinki Summit; The Worldwide Threat of Plastic Waste; More Anti- Government Protests Rock Nicaragua; Young Democrat Ocasio-Cortez Struggles to Establish Herself. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired July 22, 2018 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A mission to save the White Helmets, those are people who volunteer to help in the Syrian war, they've been evacuated. We'll go live to Israel with that story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I barricaded the hallways as best I could, grabbed a weapon and put the ladder out the window.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The story of people climbing their way out of a hostage situation inside a grocery store in the city of Los Angeles.
ALLEN (voice-over): Also, waves of plastic literally taking over a beach.
How do you fight this much plastic pollution?
We'll talk with a group working to do that this hour.
HOWELL (voice-over): It's terrifying.
Live, from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell.
ALLEN (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen. NEWSROOM starts right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news. HOWELL: At 5:00 am on the U.S. East Coast, we start with the breaking news. You've seen countless times these people running into dangerous situations, risking their lives, digging through rubble to save civilians in the Syrian conflict. Now we know that Israel and Jordan have come to the rescue of the White Helmets.
ALLEN: This group of 800 Syrian civilians, including members of the volunteer rescue group, have been evacuated now, we are told, to Jordan. Israel says its military completed this effort at the request of the U.S. and European countries.
HOWELL: Let's get the latest live in Jerusalem. CNN's Oren Liebermann on the story this hour.
And, Oren, these civilians and the White Helmets are now safely out of Syria.
Are we hearing any news, any reaction to this breaking news we're following?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We absolutely are. And as you said, this was an international effort to arrange this operation. An incredibly sensitive operation, as is anything between Israel and Syria, humanitarian or otherwise.
The Canadian foreign ministry put out a release, thanking everyone for the rescue efforts, thankful that the White Helmets have been rescued from an increasingly perilous situation.
And now we're seeing the U.K. foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, just put out a statement on social media. He called it "fantastic news" and said "The White Helmets are the bravest of the brave."
That gives you an idea of how important this operation was, not only to the White Helmets themselves, to those civilians who were brought out from Syria, to Israel, to Jordan but to the international community.
It's been the White Helmets, their videos, their efforts, their outreach that has shown the world what was happening in the Syrian civil war. The White Helmets have been at work for a number of years now through the course of the civil war. They say they are some 4,000 strong in Syria and have saved more than 100,000 lives.
That gives you an idea of how important they are. This rescue effort, going out throughout the night, 800, as you mentioned, civilians, a number of them White Helmets taken from Israel to Jordan, that's where they are now, where they'll be for a few months before they're transferred to Western countries like England, France and Canada, where they will have, finally now, some safe haven.
HOWELL: Oren, it's still a developing story. I hope I'm not putting you on the spot by asking, but do we have any sense of understanding, the timing of this?
Why now? LIEBERMANN: Well, the area they were in, this is Southern Syria, is one of the last areas in that region that the Syrian regime hasn't taken over. But the Syrian regime, with the help of the Russians, was closing in on them, meaning the White Helmets, who are civilian volunteer rescue workers, were in essentially a dangerous situation and needed to get out for their own safety.
Remember, the Syrians and the Russians both consider the White Helmets terrorist organizations, even though that designation is rejected entirely by the vast majority of the international community.
But it's because the Syrians and the Russians were closing in that they needed a way out. We know from Washington and diplomats there that there has been an international effort over the last few days to put together some sort of operation.
We have now seen overnight the fruition of those efforts as they were evacuated into Israel and then into Jordan and then those Western countries have that watched the White Helmets, helped them in many cases, funded them, will now take them in for their own safety.
HOWELL: Also interesting to point out, civilians taken to several other countries. The United States not among those listed, though part of this effort requesting that they be, you know, evacuated from Syria. So we'll continue to follow it. Oren Liebermann, live in Jerusalem for us, thank you for your reporting today.
The next story about a man who sparked a gun battle and a standoff with police, he is in police custody this hour in Los Angeles.
ALLEN: A suspect held dozens of people hostage inside a Los Angeles grocery store, a Trader Joe's, before finally giving up. According to police, a 28-year-old gunman shot his grandmother and another woman before leading police on a --
ALLEN: -- chase.
And it ended at a Trader Joe's. He ran inside. A gunfight began. And this woman, a long-time Trader Joe's employee, Melyda Corado, was killed in the crossfire. The gunman was also hit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I regret to inform you that there is one fatality, that occurred inside, of a woman. We will have details forthcoming. But, of course, family notification and trying to figure out more details, we don't have anything more than that.
But she was pulled out by the police department from the store. Fire department was able to take her, treat her onsite but she was pronounced here onsite.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HOWELL: Now in total, six people are in the hospital at this point and, at last check, they were in fair condition with no life- threatening injuries.
We're also hearing stories of bravery from inside that store. Employees and customers, they barricaded themselves inside and some found ways to escape.
ALLEN: As you see right there, someone climbing out a window and getting help with the police. Here's one employee talking with our reporter, Miguel Marquez, about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wasn't sure if I had a viable exit on the ground floor, so I proceeded upstairs, where we have an upstairs storage space. I moved through the storage space to a back kind of a break room that we have, where we have an emergency ladder.
Grabbed the emergency ladder, proceeded even further back to a back storage area. I grabbed a couple of my co-workers, brought them back as well. I barricaded the hallway as best I could, grabbed a weapon and put the ladder out the window.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Wow. You know, earlier we also heard from Devin Fields, who arrived at the Trader Joe's as the same time the gunman got there. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEVIN FIELDS, WITNESS: I was arriving at the Trader Joe's, walking into the parking lot from up the street, when a bunch of -- five cop cars drove past me up the street in pursuit of someone that I didn't see. And I heard some pops of some gunfire.
And then the gunman's car came from behind me and looked like it had damage to the front bumper, was hanging about halfway off. And he was trying to turn. But the traffic kind of kept him from going anywhere. Didn't really have anywhere to go. So he crashed his car into that pole and jumped out of his car.
And he had a pistol in his hand and just started opening fire on the police behind him, at which point I dove behind a small retaining wall at the edge of the parking lot. It was maybe 10-15 yards from me.
I laid down there with my back against the wall when three LAPD officers came, ran up and knelt behind the wall right next to me and opened fire on the gunman. Then he returned fire on them, so they got down on the ground to protect themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as you saw -- sorry, keep going. FIELDS: At that point, I think he had gone inside the store. And after he was inside the store for a little while, they had me crawl away from the scene and then run away around the corner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Again, you just hear these harrowing stories, people who are very brave, just doing what they could.
ALLEN: It's a Saturday and you're in a grocery store and that happened. Again, several people are still in the hospital. We'll continue to follow that story for you.
Now we'll turn to the U.S. president, Donald Trump, he's in Bedminster, New Jersey, this weekend at one of his resorts. But he went on Twitter to blast the Russia investigation yet again.
HOWELL: This as the White House remains tight-lipped about what actually happened at this summit with Vladimir Putin. We learned from Russia that the U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo spoke by phone with the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday. They discussed normalizing relations, also discussed North Korea and Syria.
ALLEN: This is a picture of them shaking hands when they were at Helsinki. Lavrov also criticized the arrest of this woman, Mariia Butina. She is the Russian charged in the U.S. with acting as a foreign agent.
Lavrov said the charges are fabricated and that she should be released.
HOWELL: As for the U.S. president on Twitter, most of his anger was aimed at a very familiar topic.
ALLEN: And a former opponent also voiced her opinion, I think you know who that is. Ryan Nobles is traveling with the president.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The president is spending the weekend at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.
And his Twitter feed was busy on Saturday. He specifically took the opportunity to suggest that the investigation into his campaign's potential ties to the Russian government during the 2016 election could end up having an effect in the election in 2018.
The president --
NOBLES: -- tweeting, quote, "No collusion, no obstruction but that doesn't matter because the 13 angry Democrats were only after Republicans and totally protecting Democrats. Want this witch hunt to drag out to the November election. Republicans better get smart fast and expose what they're doing." Now the president's tweet storm comes against the backdrop of
increasing criticism for his decision to have this summit with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Helsinki and subsequently his decision to invite President Putin to Washington sometime this fall.
And there's been a lot of talk about the reaction from the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, who was at a security summit in Aspen. Coats learned of the president's invitation during an interview with NBC. And Coats seemed to be a little bit shocked.
Well, Coats attempted to clear the record on Saturday night. He put out a statement that said, quote, "Some press coverage has mischaracterized my intentions in responding to breaking news presented to me during a live interview. My admittedly awkward response was in no way meant to be disrespectful or to criticize the actions of the president.
"I and the entire intel community are committed to providing the best possible intelligence to inform and support President Trump's ongoing efforts to prevent Russian meddling in our upcoming elections, to build strong relationships internationally in order to maintain peace, denuclearize dangerous regimes and protect our nation and our allies."
You'll note that the Director of National Intelligence makes no mention of whether or not he thinks it is a good idea for President Trump to invite Vladimir Putin to Washington sometime this fall.
But there is certainly one person who thinks that the president's interactions with Russia have not been going very well and that's his former opponent, Hillary Clinton. She had some harsh criticism for President Trump during a festival on Saturday. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The great mystery is why the president has not spoken up for our country. And we saw that most clearly in this recent meeting with Putin. We don't know what was said in the room with just the two of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: And there's no doubt that we've grown a bit accustomed to President Trump and Hillary Clinton trading barbs long after the 2016 election has been decided. But it's worth pointing out that this is really out of the norm.
Usually, after an election like this, the two sides go to their respective corners and are respectful of the jobs that they have to do after the fact. That's certainly not the case this time around and just one other example of how the Trump administration is unlike any presidency we've ever seen -- Ryan Nobles, CNN, New Jersey.
HOWELL: Ryan, thank you.
The president started his Saturday by slamming his former personal attorney Michael Cohen.
He tweeted this, quote, "Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office early in the morning almost unheard of," he says, "even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client. Totally unheard of and perhaps illegal." end quote.
ALLEN: Cohen had recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the election, talking about former "Playboy" model Karen McDougal. She alleges she had a months-long affair with Donald Trump around the time his wife gave birth to their son, Barron.
Trump denies the affair and, in the tape, Cohen and Trump discuss buying the rights to McDougal's story.
HOWELL: Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, answered the president's tweet with his own, saying this, "Obviously there's an ongoing investigation and we are sensitive to that. But suffice it to say that, when the recording is heard, it will not hurt Michael Cohen. Any attempt to spin cannot change it what is on the tape."
ALLEN: For the first time in FBI history, the agency has made public its highly classified application for a FISA warrant, this as a result of the Freedom of Information Act. The news media forced this to happen, FISA standing for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
And the warrant allows the FBI to conduct surveillance on a suspect. In this case, it was this man, former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
HOWELL: The warrant states that the FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government. It goes on to say the FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government.
ALLEN: Earlier this year, the 400-page warrant became a political hot potato in Congress. Some Republicans alleged it showed the Russian investigation was biased against President Trump because the warrant relied on the so-called Steele dossier, which was funded by Mr. Trump's political enemies.
But Democrats say the warrant showed the FBI had a legitimate concern about the people in the Trump campaign, which predated Steele's dossier.
Let's talk more about this with Scott Lucas. Scott, a professor of international politics at the University Birmingham and also the founder and editor of "EA WorldView."
A pleasure to have you talk about all of this.
HOWELL: Let's start with that heavily redacted report that's been released. Republicans have always argued that law enforcement improperly obtained the warrant to monitor Carter Page.
Does any of that information, from what you've seen, in your view, support or undermine that argument?
SCOTT LUCAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: No. It absolutely puts the Republican attempt, specifically the Trump camp's attempt to smear the FBI investigation, as being political and based only on a dodgy dossier, puts that to rest.
It is clear from this document, even though about 80 percent is redacted, that the investigation of Carter Page began in 2013, three years before the presidential campaign.
It is clear that it is based on contacts he had with Russian operatives in the U.S. It is clear that the FBI had multiple sources, many sources, and was not relying only on the Steele dossier, that dossier on Trump-Russia links that had been collected by a former British intelligence operative.
It is also clear from the renewal of the warrant to carry out surveillance on three occasions that the FBI saw an ongoing concern, based on multiple sources over Page.
And here's the most important thing. Keep your eyes on this. The document says quite clearly that it is not only Carter Page with whom the Russians may have been coordinating in 2016 or suspected of coordinating but also other officials in the Trump campaign.
Those officials are unnamed. But it shows that the FBI, although the surveillance was only on Page, had concerns about others who were around him.
HOWELL: Also want to get your thoughts and perspective on the Cohen factor. Let's talk about the president's former attorney, who appears to have flipped, appears that he will cooperate with investigators.
And as we continue to learn more details about their relationship, how big of a problem could the Cohen factor be for the president?
LUCAS: How big is a mountain?
On the surface, we have a strange story to tie together the week's roller coaster and that is the revelation that Michael Cohen spoke to Donald Trump about a payoff to a woman who claimed she had an affair with Trump.
In part, that was released possibly by the Trump camp to deflect from the disaster of the Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin.
But, of course, if the Trump camp was basically agreeing to this tape being released, hoping they can limit the damage, it only feeds the wider story.
And that is, if Michael Cohen is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller about the payoffs to women like Karen McDougal, like Stormy Daniels, how much more is he cooperating about?
How much more is he saying about the Trump Organization or about the Trump campaign, including the links with the Russians? The -- Trump doesn't know that. He doesn't know how much Cohen is saying and that's why you got that angry tweet yesterday that turned on Cohen against the FBI. And then notice the line at the end. Called on Republicans to halt the investigation before November's elections.
HOWELL: I want to talk about the lead-up to November's elections. Following that controversial summit in Helsinki, the U.S. president, we see him doubling down now, again, looking to invite President Putin for another summit.
And since then we also know the top diplomats between two countries have spoken, working to normalize relations. All of this, of course, leading up to the fall right around the midterms, Scott.
What impact do you think that might have on the president, on Trump voters and what could be a very interesting November?
LUCAS: First of all, let's talk about the game from Trump's side. And the game in part was electoral and that is present Donald Trump as this world leader, alongside Vladimir Putin. He's the man you support when you vote for Republicans. In part, it's about Trump's ego.
But let's talk about it from the Russian side. The Russians have complete control over what happened in that summit; because it was a one-on-one meeting, no other American officials, the Russians can say whatever they want to about it, that Donald Trump accepts their line on the annexation of Crimea, taking it from Ukraine, that they have formed joint committees from military cooperation with the United States.
And now going farther, that Russia's line on the Middle East is one that the United States accepts.
And there is no pushback you can make against that because the only person who knows what was said to Vladimir Putin on Monday is Donald Trump.
HOWELL: Scott Lucas, with perspective and what appears to be a small cat there, waving at us in the background, Scott, thank you so much for your time. We'll stay in touch with you.
LUCAS: Thank you.
ALLEN: One woman lost nine family members in that Missouri boat tragedy. Now she's giving an emotional interview about how she will carry on without her husband and her children -- her story next.
HOWELL: Plus, environmental activists trying to bring attention to this. Massive plastic all in the ocean.
[05:20:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)
ALLEN: Welcome back. Missouri investigators are working to piece together the last moments of that tour boat that sank during a thunderstorm Thursday, 17 people drowned in that tragedy.
HOWELL: Survivors now left dealing with the emotional wreckage as they wait for answers. One woman, Tia Coleman, lost nine family members, including her husband and three young children. She told reporters how she made it out of the water.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIA COLEMAN, DUCK BOAT SURVIVOR: And I saw there was a great big boat out there, like a river boat. And they were, oh, my God, they were jumping in and saving people. They were throwing life rafts out to everybody.
But I couldn't reach it. I couldn't get there in time. And so somehow I managed to get to the boat. These beautiful people, angels, I don't know who they were, they pulled me up. And when they pulled me up from the boat, I didn't see any of my family. But I believe I survived by God and by good Samaritans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: We're all feeling her pain. She's so eloquent in her grief. Tia says she's not sure if she's happy to be alive without her family and she's struggling to face her next really big challenge, going home to a house that's empty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLEMAN: Going home, I already know is going to be completely, completely difficult. I don't know how I'm going to do it. I'm -- since I've had a home, it's always been filled. It's always been filled with little feet and laughter. And my husband. I don't know how I'm going to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Well, here's what we know. A team from the National Transportation Safety Board says it could take up to a year to complete this investigation. But divers found a recording device that has video and possibly audio that could show them what happened. Missouri's attorney general explains exactly what they're looking for. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSHUA HAWLEY, MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL: This investigation's in its early stages. There are actually two parallel investigations going on. The NTSB is conducting an investigation into the sinking of the vessel and the circumstances surrounding that immediate event.
[05:25:00] HAWLEY: The Missouri State Highway Patrol is conducting a broader investigation into the circumstances that led to this tragedy beforehand and whether or not this should be treated as a crime scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Again, we know that it went down during a storm.
We're going to turn now to Northern Vietnam. Speaking of storms, rescuers there working to rescue and relocate hundreds of people after a typhoon triggered severe flooding and landslides.
HOWELL: Twenty-one people have been killed and the search for people still missing is underway.
ALLEN: Next here, plastic waste is suffocating the world's oceans and threatening wildlife. This video from the Dominican Republic illustrates the problem. We'll talk with a group trying to clean this up.
HOWELL: Plus, a volatile situation in Nicaragua keeps getting worse. What led to months of antigovernment protests.
In the U.S. and around the world, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
HOWELL: Coast to coast across the United States and to our viewers around the world, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell.
ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories.
We're following breaking news out of Syria. Volunteers with the White Helmets rescue group have been evacuated into Jordan by Israel. They're among a group of 800 civilians pulled from the conflict because it's getting worse where they are. Israel says its military completed the humanitarian effort at the request of the U.S. and European countries.
ALLEN: As far as what was discussed between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, what we know about the Helsinki summit is coming mainly from the Kremlin, not the White House. Let's bring in our Matthew Chance, live in Moscow.
Matthew, the fact that the U.S. president is allowing Russia to own the narrative regarding the summit is somewhat bewildering. Russia has the diplomatic ball in its court, it seems right now, as far as what it can say about what happened there.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is highly unusual, you're right. Normally you get readouts from both sides as to what was discussed. To be clear, the Russians haven't come out and said in these behind closed door talks that we had in Helsinki, the Finnish capital, here's what we discussed, item one, two, three, four et cetera.
But what we have seen from various Russia officials, including from the foreign ministry and defense minute, are bleak references to the topics and the various agreements that were discussed between the two presidents.
For instance, the Russian ministry of defense has talked about continuing talks that began in Helsinki, about international security and about strategic arms reduction, the renewal of the START treaty.
They've also talked about a joint U.S.-Russian proposal to return refugees in Syria to the conflict zone there and to reconstruct the country after the years of warfare that have taken place in that place.
There's also word from the Russian foreign ministry, the Russian ambassador to the United States here in Moscow for a short visit, said that concrete proposals were discussed between Trump and Putin about the future of Eastern Ukraine.
Media reports here have elaborated on that further, saying that there was a discussion of the possibility of a referendum being held in Donbas, which is Eastern Ukraine, to decide the future of that war- torn region.
So all of that coming from the Russian side and very little information, astonishingly, coming from the White House or the American side at this point.
ALLEN: All right. Matthew Chance, following it for us from Moscow. Thank you, Matthew.
HOWELL: Now to the U.S. state of Texas.
HOWELL: A story that we're following there, police released a sketch of a man suspected of shooting and killing a well-known cardiologist. You see the sketch right there. The victim on his bicycle when it happened.
Again, this in Houston, Texas. They're hoping surveillance cameras and witnesses can help them lead to an identification.
ALLEN: It's a bizarre story. Mark Hausknecht's patients included former U.S. president George H.W. Bush, who issued a statement of condolence. Police say the doctor was gunned down on his bicycle by a person also on a bicycle. They do not know if the attack was targeted or random. We'll continue to follow it.
HOWELL: We're getting some shocking images of something many people feel is out of sight, out of mind, but this is really happening. Plastics that we throw away every day, the straws, the bottles, the bags, they'll come back and haunt you in a big way.
ALLEN: This is the scene that got everyone's attention. This is a beach in the Dominican Republic. That's the ocean but you can't see the water. Right now, tons of plastic waste are washing up on the shore quicker than volunteers are able to haul it away. And that's just one beach.
HOWELL: At least 8 million tons of plastic goes into our oceans every year. This according to the World Economic Forum. And that's like dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute. The United Nations predicts that, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
ALLEN: We've been saying this for years but the plastic keeps coming, much of it collecting in garbage patches like what you see here, huge islands of plastic underneath the ocean, being swept along in the ocean currents. There are about 80,000 tons of plastic in our oceans.
One organization in particular is among those trying to solve the growing plastics problem. Right now they're focusing on the waves of garbage washing up in the Dominican Republic.
Parley for the Oceans is onsite right now and they say they're working with local military and government officials to try to clean up the waste there. That group's leader explains what is so important, why trying to tackle it now is important, beach by beach.
ALLEN: He says, in the past, we've sent postcards with magical beaches and palm trees. Now it's waves of plastic trash. Unless we act now, future generations won't even believe the postcard scenes ever existed. We're calling for a material revolution. Plastic has to go.
And Cyrill Gutsch is the founder of Parley for the Oceans. He joins me now from New York to talk about this.
Thanks so much. We know that you have people down there working on this problem. The video is staggering and it just kind of gives a snapshot to this great mess that we're creating, doesn't it?
CYRILL GUTSCH, PARLEY FOR THE OCEANS: Oh, yes. Hi, good morning, Natalie. It is really a plastic emergency. And what you're seeing in Dominican Republic, on this beach close to Santo Domingo, is, unfortunately, the new normal. This happens everywhere in the world, especially in places that we call paradise, really.
ALLEN: Right. And how difficult is it to try to bring that up?
GUTSCH: I think, for a long time, the topic got totally neglected. People felt, oh, we recycle. Everything is under control; this is a standard we can trust. But now people realize -- and not only regular people like us but also
like politicians and big brands -- they realize that plastic is a design failure and it will not just go away. This material itself is simply due to redesign. We have to let it go.
ALLEN: But it's not happening. Yes, one viral video of a turtle with a straw completely up its naval cavity has companies like McDonald's and Starbucks doing away with plastic straws. But yet, every day, most of the things you buy are wrapped in plastic.
How many people drink water out of plastic bottles?
The soda companies are still pumping out massive amounts of drinks in plastic bottles. You've got stop it at the source because this is -- this is the result of recycling, not exactly.
GUTSCH: I think we have to -- we campaign since six years and this turtle with the straw in the nose, that's an old video. I think now is the moment, now is the moment, the climate of change.
And I think the companies' only move -- and I know the companies only move because there's pressure from their own clients and that is what we are responsible for. We are all about creating this moment, where people understand that an old technology like plastic needs to go.
And also we have to face the stuff that is already out there. And it will take a moment. It will take some while to reinvent plastic. And in that time, we simply have to stop making more of it.
And, therefore, we came up with that idea -- we call it ocean plastic -- to use that trash that got lost --
GUTSCH: -- that's out there, that has no value and make products from it and use these products to fund the movement, fund the innovation and fund also the education because everything starts in our head, starts up here.
ALLEN: Absolutely. And what -- is the onus on consumers to refuse to buy products or to think about their using one bit of plastic and then tossing it in the trash?
Or is it the companies take the responsibility first?
Which is first?
GUTSCH: I think the point is, too long, companies have pushed the responsibility onto the consumer and have called them litter bugs. And the truth is, plastic is a problem, even if you discard it in the right way. A very small amount gets even recycled.
But even if you recycle it, the whole use of plastic is full of problems because it leaks chemicals, it breaks down, even if you just use it in your clothing or even in water bottles. Plastics built need to go. And that's something that the industry has to take on. And, of course, the government can support that by banning it. But
the consumer can create that demand and can be nagging and demanding. But it should not feel overwhelming.
It's the little things that everybody can do. It's the little actions. It's like opting out of items and showing your environment, your own network, but also to people who want to sell stuff to you, show them that you actually know that this material is wrong.
So starting with a plastic bottle and just letting one item go out of your everyday life is a good beginning.
But there shouldn't be the feeling of guilt or shame. It's just an old technology and we have to -- we know better now, so we have to invent new stuff.
ALLEN: Thank you so much for your time and for what you're doing. Cyrill Gutsch, thank you so much for joining us.
GUTSCH: Thanks for having me, Natalie. Have a good day.
ALLEN: Thank you. You, too.
HOWELL: In Nicaragua, demonstrators are refusing to back down. We have a look at what kicked off months of antigovernment protests there.
ALLEN: Antigovernment protests are not letting up here in Nicaragua. More demonstrations are set for the coming hours to protest president Daniel Ortega.
HOWELL: Some have been upbeat and peaceful, others have been violent. The government has launched a brutal crackdown. And some demonstrators are arming themselves. At least 284 people have been killed and thousands wounded since the civil unrest started in April.
This is according, again, to the human rights group in the Central American country. CNN's Rafael Romo looks at the problem.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): It started in April, a mostly student-led movement against proposed pension cuts. That was met with a shower of bullets. Police and paramilitary forces brutally squashing (sic) dissent. Hundreds dead in the unrest, according to the Organization of American States. Many more injured in an uprising that has engulfed Nicaragua. Protests that began three months ago quickly erupted into violence.
Evidence that discontent has been simmering for some time. A growing opposition to an ex-guerilla president who was once a rebel himself. Speaking on the 39th anniversary of the revolution he helped orchestrate, Daniel Ortega blames unrest on a foreign-backed coup (ph).
DANIEL ORTEGA, PRESIDENT OF NICARAGUA (through translator): It has been a painful battle, a painful one, because we have faced an armed conspiracy financed by internal forces and we all know of and from external forces which we have recognized.
ROMO (voice-over): More than three decades ago, Ortega was a revolutionary leader, part of the Sandinista rebels, who overthrew Anastasio Somoza, a dictator whose family had ruled Nicaragua with an iron fist for more than 40 years.
Ortega soon went on to become president. Now himself a mainstay of Nicaraguan politics for nearly 40 years. After sidestepping the constitution and pressuring lawmakers to remove term limits, Ortega is now in his fourth term with his wife as vice president. He has run in every race since 1985, despite some discord over claims of voter fraud and intimidation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Damn Daniel Ortega, because he doesn't want to leave. He only wants to stay in power. And the people are tired.
ROMO (voice-over): All these sentiments fan the flames of protests in April, now quickly swelling into a broader rebellion against Ortega's rule. The heavy-handed government response receiving international condemnation and accusations of grave human rights violations.
RUPERT COLVILLE, SPOKESPERSON, U.N. HIGH COMMISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: Police, armed elements and other violent groups have carried out so- called cleanup operations in different parts of the country.
We are observing an emerging and disturbing practice of human rights defenders and people who have merely taken part in protests being criminalized.
ROMO (voice-over): Ortega refused claims of government abuse and defends his time in power. But critics say he is becoming more and more like the dictator he once fought against -- Rafael Romo, CNN.
ALLEN: Here in the U.S., a young political activist hits the campaign trail far from her New York district. Next, why some veteran Democrats are less than impressed.
HOWELL: A newcomer to politics from the Bronx stunned the political establishment when she won a House primary in June against one of the heavyweight Democrats in the party.
ALLEN: It was a stunner but it hasn't been easy since then. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has her story.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A rising star from New York.
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: They said what we did in the Bronx, no one would care about it in Kansas.
SERFATY (voice-over): Hitting the trail in deep red Kansas with Bernie Sanders to boost a pair of progressive House candidates.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Wherever there is working class people, there is hope for the progressive movement.
SERFATY (voice-over): A month after her stunning primary win...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's looking at herself on television right now.
SERFATY (voice-over): -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has gone from relative unknown to high-wattage political phenomenon.
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Please welcome Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
SERFATY (voice-over): Making the late night rounds...
COLBERT: I want to confess that I did not know your name on Monday.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Most people didn't.
SERFATY (voice-over): -- her shade of lipstick even selling out online after she name-dropped it on Twitter. But it hasn't all been smooth sailing.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: For me, what it really means is establishing a baseline level of economic and social dignity.
SERFATY (voice-over): Struggling to answer policy questions...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You used the term the occupation of Palestine.
What did you mean by that?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Oh, I think what I meant is, like, the settlements that are increasing.
SERFATY (voice-over): -- shining a spotlight on her inexperience.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I am not the expert on geopolitics on this issue.
SERFATY (voice-over): Her calls to abolish ICE...
OCASIO-CORTEZ: But ICE is, when we talk about abolishing ICE, we're talking about ending family detention.
SERFATY (voice-over): -- an idea that's divided Democrats and given Republicans an opening to attack.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just when you thought the Democrats couldn't move farther to the Left, leading members of the Democratic Party, including candidates for higher office, are actually openly advocating the abolition of ICE.
SERFATY (voice-over): In advance of her expected arrival in Washington, Ocasio-Cortez is sending signals she'll continue to shake up the Democratic establishment.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Even if you can carve out a subportion, a subcaucus on the progressive caucus, even if you could carve out that, even a smaller bloc but --
OCASIO-CORTEZ: -- one that operates as a bloc, then you can generate real power.
SERFATY (voice-over): That approach seems to be rubbing some Democrats on the Hill the wrong way, with one member telling "The Hill" newspaper, "Ocasio-Cortez is making enemies within the party."
Another warning, "Meteors fizz out."
All as Democratic leaders downplay the significance of her win.
NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: They made a choice in one district, so let's not get yourself carried away as an expert on demographics.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: There are a lot of really exciting races with extremely similar dynamics as mine. It's not just one district.
SERFATY (voice-over): Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Wichita, Kansas.
ALLEN: Finally this hour, quite a sight above Paris, an intense few moments as well. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): She's doing the splits on that high wire, a tightrope walker without a net or a safety line. It took high-wire artist Tatiana-Mosio Bongonga a year of planning and practice to make this happen. Thank goodness, she practiced.
HOWELL: Oh, goodness, practice is needed there.
So while hundreds of people watched from below, she followed the steel cable up one of the most famous hills in Paris and ended when she reached the famous landmark, the cathedral at the top.
TATIANA-MOSIO BONGONGA, HIGH-WIRE ARTIST (through translator): There's always something that is unique to each passage because each one takes place in a different place. Here I had the chance to face a monument, which had never happened to me before.
It was something new and it was magical to be in front of the Sacre Coeur and to tell myself, I'm coming. It's quite something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: That's the brave person of the day.
Thanks for watching, I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. The news continues here on CNN after the break.